TALK ‘N Text tries to ride the momentum of its Game 1 victory as it goes for a 2-0 lead against San Miguel Beer in the resumption of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The KaTropa handily won the opener of the best-of-7 series last Sunday, 109-96, in a game where import Terrence Jones stood at the forefront of TNT’s onslaught against the Beermen, who could not find their rhythm as they barely had enough rest after an excruciating semifinal tussle the previous day.
Jones cut loose with 41 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and issued eight assists and got full complement from four locals as TNT seized the psychological Game 1 victory of the series between teams belonging to the top two franchise groups in the pro league.
Jayson Castro, a strong contender for the best player of the conference plum, was easily the brightest among the TNT locals after coming away with 20 points. Troy Rosario was also at his best with 16 points, with Roger Pogoy and Don Trollano adding 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Focus of the 7 p.m. Game 2 will definitely be on how will the Beermen go about their defense. Will they just allow Jones to do his tricks but prevent the locals from scoring as well, or vice versa?
“Let’s face it, you cannot stop him (Jones), but you can limit him. And if you cannot limit him, then stop the locals,” SMB coach Leo Austria told People’s Journal yesterday, moments after presiding a practice at the Acropolis Gym.
“Umiskor ng 41 points yung import, and then apat ’yung locals nila na umiskor din. Dapat kasi ’yung bola huwag makarating kay Jones,” noted Austria.
Austria also cited the need for his Beermen to minimize their turnovers if they are to gain a fair chance.
“We have to minimize our turnovers dahil nakakuha sila ng 19 points mula sa turnovers naming. Malaki ’yun sa finals, tapos nakakuha sila ng 26 points sa second chance, parang regalo ’yon,” stressed Austria.
The bemedaled bench tactician who has won seven championships with the Beermen also mentioned TNT’s 13 triples which helped a lot in KaTropa’s cause, as well as the Beermen’s lack of adequate time to prepare for Game 1.
“Isa pa problema talaga namin eh wala kami time for preparation, pagod na pagod kami nuon eh dahil kakatapos lang ng laro naming sa semifinals. Pagod na pagod sila the following day,” added Austria.
TNT coach Bong Ravena acknowledged the Beermen being too tired in the game.
“Swerte namin, medyo pagod sila (nung Game 1),” said Ravena, in finals for the first time since taking the reins of TNT last year.
“We have to come out strong again and be ready,” he said. “Babalik at babalik ’yan. It’s a champion team and we have to respect that.”
The KaTropa are gunning to win the title they last won in 2015 at the expense of Rain or Shine. They actually landed in the finals of the same mid-season conference in 2017 but were beaten, interestingly, by the Beermen.